L.A. Noire dev moves to shut down

Documents filed with Australian Securities and Investments Commission today foretell studio's imminent closure.

146 Comments

Despite a glowing critical reception and chart-topping sales for Team Bondi's period crime sleuther L.A. Noire, the weeks and months following the game's May release have been fraught with uncertainty about the developer's future.

Perhaps forensics could figure out what killed Team Bondi.
Perhaps forensics could figure out what killed Team Bondi.

Most recently, Team Bondi was placed into administration, with control handed off to a separate entity. Now, according to official Australian government documents, the studio's total closure is imminent.

Multiple documents regarding Team Bondi have been filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission today, including one appointing a liquidator to the studio. A "special resolution to wind up company" was also filed today with the government agency.

Team Bondi's reputation was tarnished earlier this year when employee complaints about working conditions and credits omissions drew the attention of the International Game Developers Association. At the time, one of Team Bondi's senior-most developers said the studio would learn from its mistakes.

Despite the closure of Team Bondi, a PC iteration of L.A. Noire is due out on November 8. However, the game is being ported over by Rockstar Leeds.

Take-Two Interactive owns the rights to the L.A. Noire intellectual property, meaning the franchise could survive its original studio's demise. The game has already shipped 4 million units for Take-Two.

L.A. Noire follows Cole Phelps, a detective entangled in a violent web of vice, corruption, and crime in 1947 Los Angeles. Players jump into the seedy underworld of the metropolis and are tasked with solving a series of murders and other criminal offenses, ranging from arson and drug trafficking to racketeering.

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Avatar image for benboz
benboz

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It's a shame to see another Australian developer shut down.

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Avatar image for Aletunda
Aletunda

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i hated that senior developer since i watched him in an interview, absolute prick i feel bad for the employees hard times in Aus for gaming, hopefully R* will keep producing content for the game maybe a sequel set in a different city?

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Avatar image for GhoX
GhoX

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The employees complained about their conditions, fair enough. Now that the studio is shutting down they will lose their jobs. I wonder if there is a winner in all of this at all.

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Dustyn-Barlow

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Man I hate to hear about talented artists and designers losing there jobs.

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AuronAXE

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This was a really stupid and messed up case. I feel really bad for everyone involved. And I'll be sure to buy the PC version.

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SDBusDriver1979

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I sense a phoenix rising from this grave, most of the people will probably create a new studio.

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Philly04

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I wonder if this is another business ploy to sell off pieces of a company/developer for its worth which has grown in value from the success of L.A. Noire

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wasakawaka

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Strange that a company that created such a successful game still managed to croak. The game was ok :/

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thedemon44

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Good riddance.

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jasonzilla11

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Today was a sad day in gaming. First, Team Bondi's shutdown (with is very strange), and then Steve Job's death. @SolidTy I know, I was just thinking that. While I know they were having a tough time making the game, I thought the game was fantastic and deserved a sequel. I guess now that won't happen.

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Avatar image for Ratatoskr321
Ratatoskr321

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Add another year at least to the development for L.A. Noire 2...

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holtrocks

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That sucks i loved L.A Noire even if it was really short.

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Avatar image for Rod_MW
Rod_MW

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People should read the other article about Team Bondi to know what was going on.

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marlobc

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I Liked the game,im sure Team Bondi will rise again (maybe witha different name) seeing how good they are

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soulless4now

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Shame since the game seemed to sale well.

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Avatar image for Evtutchenk0
Evtutchenk0

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once again publishers thinking they can rule the world...

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shadow580

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Dayumm shame.

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hippiesanta

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team bondi will soon appear with same person, different name

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gamerxxx89

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oh my my.......i think they......huh!!! just wnna say................ RIP team bondi!!

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Avatar image for cipo89
cipo89

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Shame, real shame. Great game and this is one Dev team that does not need to close its doors.

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pszone

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But LA Noire will live on from its rights from take two whats great news so gta and la norie hell ya

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pszone

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Well they left rockstar games if they stayed with rockstar games this wouldnt happen. oh well team bandi did gataway 1 and 2 in past aslo a dely gataway 3 wha never got realse. know LA Noire finsh for gd so gd bye Team Bandi RIP but Team Bandi desive to get shut dowm how they treated there stuff and rockstar games.

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Avatar image for Thug2Wasteland
Thug2Wasteland

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This is sad. I was seriously hoping for those 2 extra desks to be released. Sure its boring to some of you people, but LA Noire brought originality that most games did not bring. (Considering all I see is generic shooters). I am hoping Rockstar can bring in those 2 rumored DLC's in the near future or at least let Team Bondi finish what they started so they can wrap up this case....Thank you Team Bondi and Rockstar, for showing originality for once in the past few years...

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drswank

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With the way they treated their employees, they deserve it. Hopefully Brendan M. will be a little nicer with his next studio - if anyone is willing to fund such a thing after this.

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Col-Struckin

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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mtait01

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L.A. Noire was a great game but eventually it just got way too repetative and the ending was just shocking... also, all of the flashbacks to war time were just lame. The story however in the present was great and some of the cases were very well written but the game had some major flaws. FOR EXAMPLE, i had 2 people to interview, i interviewed 1 and got nothing, i then interviewed the 2nd suspect and it was apparant that the 1st suspect was my man, I had evidence... the game then wouldnt let me arrest the 1st guy and forced me to arrest the wrong guy leaving me with a terrible rating and in the cutscene the commander had a go at me for arresting the wrong guy... well I am sorry but the game would not let me!!! The game was good, it was original, but it is not a game I would ever play again.

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reeree746

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Can somebody explain this to me like I'm 5? Will there be another Noire game?

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Arther-la-Blunt

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yea for PC porting!

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TigerRifle1

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It another example of a studio being too ambitious. Whether its 8Monkey Labs having a concept like Darkest of Days way unfunded or Team Bondi with LA Noire but going way over budget these type of things will come back to haunt them. No more proof then this is needed that game developers need to get their house in order before they come up with ambitious titles to prodeuce.

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Avatar image for shansss123
shansss123

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that's really bad! I was happy to hear the pc version is coming out but this news has now made me unhappy.

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Avatar image for TBoneTony
TBoneTony

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It is sad that such a realistic game that took 5 to 7 years to make has gone over budget and costed the original developer. It does not matter how much money they make from the sales, if the cost of making a game is so huge it should have been canned before it sent the company bust. :(

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SoreThumbsBill

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You can't be serious. There are developers that keep releasing the same turds each year and Team Bondi goes bust?

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terrascythe

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You don't produce a game like this and then just shut-down for no reason. Asset liquidation basically means that Team Bondi cannot pay its debits, and that nobody wants to merge or buy them. Although the game was successful in terms of its vision, it was also a failure because the developer was simply unprofitable and mismanaged. If you're wondering why this doesn't happen to other studios it's because they can actually make money on their games.

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IonBlaster4

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I dont really get it... If you are working overtime, more than likely you signed a contract talking about overtime and stuff in the first place. If you signed the contract, then you have to do what it says. Anyways, the publishers want these games out at a certain time. Don't they get some time off after they get the job done? If they cant get a couple weeks of vacation each year, then there is a problem.

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strayfies

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If overtime went unpaid in the whole industry (a hilarious aphorism, given that the industry spans several continents and hundreds of corporations), why did the IGDA make so much of a ruckus about it? The truth is, plenty of game developers and their staff are usually compensated for overtime. It's standard, and where absent it absolutely does merit an outcry. The lower staff and on-hand testers won't be compensated for overtime, but they aren't the ones who usually have to put in double shifts toward the end of a game's deadline.

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Avatar image for deactivated-5d1ce649926e1
deactivated-5d1ce649926e1

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@manicwagon You must never have had a salaried job. Hate to break it to you but you don't get overtime. You get paid the same whether you work 40/wk or 100/wk and if you think the average devs, designers, writers, etc. get bonuses or anything like that based on sales think again. Only thing they get is something for the portfolio.

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Avatar image for Valas_Azuviir
Valas_Azuviir

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@Unfallen_Satan Not completely true. Rockstar does know what went on there, hence why in the end they intervened to get the game done. Think it was about 3m prior to shipping date that they stepped in and took over. And from all the reporting, Rockstar was rather pleased with the regular staff, but not with the management team in place. See also here: << LINK REMOVED >> Anyway, Bondi's IP and assets have been bought by production firm Kennedy Miller Mitchell, and number of folks have been offered job vacancies at/severance packages by that company as well. So it's not all bad. Nor does it speak ill for those who stepped up. Compare it to the Infinity Ward situation with Activision. Activision didn't pay the bonuses, so the rank and file sued, plus a large section of them quit and went to go with their former bosses West and Zampella. That's an example of staff and management working well together. Team Bondi? Good example of staff and management in conflict.

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jhpeter

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Corruption is in all parts , why to single out this outstanding developer? International Game Developers Association looks more a chinese tribunal.

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Avatar image for Valas_Azuviir
Valas_Azuviir

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@manicwagon, Afaik, overtime isn't paid in the games industry. So it's 80h workweeks and only getting paid for 40h. And those 80h normally only occur during Crunch time, but from what I've heard about this Studio and LA Noire, Crunch Time lasted a hell of a lot longer than is industry standard. I think they started like 7 months early with it. Normally, it's around month and a half, maybe two at most.

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xxYetterxx

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I look at L.A. Noire as a step towards something special but the game itself wasn't really all that great.

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CatAtomic999

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I press square for Doubt... D'OH! The article was true?!

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manicwagon

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These employees put up with being 'overworked' while making some serious dough with overtime then after the success of the game; pooled the money they earned and gained legal representation for a class action lawsuit. If studios would stop releasing all these press packets and actually worked on a game before setting an unrealistic release dates this kind of thing wouldn't happen as much. As it is every employee on every game works overtime for months on end to reach that date. These people however didn't say peep until the game's success and then essentially unionized and shut their own company down.

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Avatar image for Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

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This is a chance for everyone involved to get a fresh start. The actual corporate entity is unimportant as long as all IP rights remain viable and the core game-developing talent finds new places to work. Ironically, the people hurt most by this closure are the other employees of Team Bondi. While the core talent may be hired by other companies to develop L.A. Noire sequels or similar games, others may have difficulty finding work after the fiasco that brought down Team Bondi. I am not critical of employees bringing attention to unsatisfactory work conditions, but if I were an employers, I'd think twice about hiring people like that. Especially now, with the company dissolved and no official investigation providing an accurate picture, outsiders may never know whether the working conditions were really that bad or Team Bondi employees, for some reason, developed a habit as whiners. The company is not the only one that could have its reputation tarnished. In recent years, closure of studios owned by major publishers have become more common. I hope this doesn't develop into a legal tool for big publishers so that publishers use subsidiary studios or studios with close relationship as liability shields and just close them when problems arise and re-open new ones, with nominal impact on the publishers themselves.

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Avatar image for Frost259
Frost259

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It really wasn't that good of a game.

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lagerfeldt1974

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Asswipes. They owe me money from products ordered and received. I guess I'm not the only one they're ripping off, though.

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Legend002

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Team Bondi got owned.

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Snaptrap

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What did you expect with a name like Team Bondi? They should've went with a name like Team Bandai.

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100proofsoco

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@oflow I couldn't agree more. "OMG that guy/girl made a facial expression!" I found no fun in this lackluster title. As in zero.

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Megavideogamer

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I hope that in future the videogame industry employers. In all aspects of the Videogame industry treat the people who work for them better. Their are deadlines that have to be met in understand. But not at the expense of the Health of your employees. Mental health (stress) of the people who work to create videogames must be taken into account. So if the 3rd party Studio leaders (treat you people well) and the Employees (who must also note what they signed on when embarking on a career of making Videogames) Your not doing Hard labour in the Contruction industry. Office politics aside. Both sides must find a happy medium. Otherwise another Videogame crash will be coming...(Worldwide Ecomony is not healthy) The videogame industry will be among the first to fall. Which doesn't mean people should mistreat their employees, If that is indeed the case. As much as I love videogames. I am glad I don't work in the Industry of creating them. If I did I would quickly hate videogames. Which is my primary form of entertainment. (For fun and stress relief) I wish the people who have lost their jobs, to find another one with a studio that shall treat them better and with respect.

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